Anti-Racism

A previous culture war: Turner and Styron

Nat Turner planning the rebellion In 1967, 136 years after Nat Turner led a slave rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, the white US novelist William Styron published a book, The Confessions of Nat Turner. The book was written in the first person, Styron giving words to Turner and his story. Prior to the publication of Styron’s book the history of the Turner insurrection was not widely known. For several months Styron’s book received great reviews and grandiose praise. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968. But within a few months universal acclaim had turned into a very...

Kino Eye: A tribute to Sidney Poitier

Along with Harry Belafonte and a few others, Sydney Poitier was a pioneer in Hollywood when African-Americans found it difficult to get serious roles and were often restricted to playing cardboard cut-out man-servants, pimps, villains and so on. Poitier was the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Lilies of the Field (1963). Although probably he became a somewhat marginalised figure with the rise of militant political black activism in the late 60s and 70s, his central role in establishing a meaningful black presence in Hollywood should never be...

Intersectionality and Marxism

bell hooks, 1952-2021 This article is from our 2016 pamphlet Why Socialist Feminism?, which you can buy here. “My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit!”? The concept of “intersectionality” has played an important role in the revival of feminist ideas and activity since the late 2000s. Many feminists today define themselves as “intersectional feminists” – meaning that they attempt to make space for the voices and issues of those who are marginalised in the movement; or as a way of indicating how different oppressions inter-relate to create individual women’s experiences...

Borders Bill puts 40% of ethnic minority UK citizens at risk

The protest-criminalising Police Bill is just one element of the Tories' push towards a vicious authoritarian state. Just behind it in the parliamentary queue of measures to assault the rights of people living in, working in or trying to come to the United Kingdom, the Nationality and Borders Borders Bill passed the House of Commons on 8 December and is now on its second reading in the House of Lords. The Bill now attacks the rights not just of the small numbers of refugees the Tories are trying to present as some kind of overwhelming tide, but of vast numbers of UK citizens – mainly with...

Squaring anti-racist instinct with pro-Brexit policy

To be fair to the Morning Star, the fact that it had no coverage of the Wednesday 24 November tragedy in the Channel until its Friday edition (26 November), a day later than the rest of the media, was probably due to its limited resources and inability to extend deadlines. When it did come, the Morning Star’s coverage was mainly pretty good: a front page headline “Give Safe Routes To Refugees” and a lead story quoting refugee rights groups blaming racist border fortification policies by both the British and French governments. The editorial on Friday 26 November was headed “Britain’s inhumane...

Vigilante violence stalks America

Have you seen that vigilante man? I’ve been hearin’ his name all over the land. Would he shoot his brother and sister down? - Woody Guthrie Vigilante violence spreads a bloody stain over the pages of American history. The novels of John Steinbeck and songs of Woody Guthrie highlighted attacks by union-busters and racists on the labour movement, people of colour, and the poor in general in the 1930s. “Vigilantism” was also associated with the violence of the Klu Klux Klan and other racist-terrorist groups intent on maintaining white supremacy in the southern USA from the end of the civil war...

Yorkshire cricket: a racist disgrace

Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) has stumbled into a self-made crisis which has been decades in the making. Azeem Rafiq (pictured), a Pakistani-born Yorkshire cricketer who played for the club in two stints from 2008 to 2018, suffered racist discrimination and bullying which left him close to suicide. YCCC reluctantly commissioned an independent report into Rafiq’s allegations but has refused to publish the final document. The club recently announced that no disciplinary action would be taken against those responsible for the bullying, which it accepts took place, adding that the regular...

Teaching history: defending the indefensible?

Last week, a youth worker in the UK named Hannah Wilkinson tweeted an image from a textbook used today in this country for A-Level history. Students were asked “To what extent do you believe the treatment of native Americans has been exaggerated?” Wilkinson asked “In what world is this is an acceptable question/exercise to ask students?” She added that she was “actually horrified.” The text came from a book called The Making of a Superpower: USA 1865-1975, published by Hodder Education. The book has been in use for some six years, though the controversial passages have been highlighted only...

Honour and learn from the Grunwick strike!

20 August 2021 was the 45th anniversary of the start of one of the most important struggles in British working-class history, the two-year strike by Grunwick film-processing workers in North West London. Below we republish an overview of the strike and its significance written by Jean Lane in 1998, with a short introduction from 2012. The kind of lessons Jean highlighted in 1998, from the strike's magnificence but also its galling defeat, were still relevant in 2012 and are relevant today. To honour this history, we are encouraging donations to the strike fund of outsourced cleaning and...

1968: Martin Luther King and the Memphis sanitation strike

On February 1, 1968, two sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, Echol Cole and Robert Walker, were riding on the back of a garbage truck when the compactor accidentally activated. Both men were chewed up, like garbage. The deaths led to a strike by the city’s 1,300 sanitation workers and the participation of Martin Luther King Jr., ending with his assassination. Little did the striking workers know “that their decision would challenge generations of white supremacy in Memphis and have staggering consequences for the nation”, as Michael K Honey put it in Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis...

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.